WASHINGTON, June 7, 2016 — With five months to go until the U.S. presidential election, Donald Trump looks likely to win. Here’s why:
1. There is a huge enthusiasm gap between Trump supporters and Hillary Clinton supporters. While primary voters have turned out to vote for Trump in numbers shattering all records for GOP involvement, Democratic voter turnout has been anemic.
In order to secure victory, the incumbent party should have a clear 9-to-11 point lead in the polls at this point in the race. Trump and Clinton haven’t even been officially nominated, and Trump has pulled ahead in several polls.
2. Both the New York Times and Clinton have brought out their heavy artillery early, yet opinion polls show virtually no impact on the Trump campaign. Not only has Trump proven impervious to slander, but as the Young Turks have pointed out, if he’s called Teflon Don, Clinton should probably be called Velcro Hillary. The accusations have flown fast and furious at her, and now they’re starting to stick.
The NYT article may have actually helped Trump. It was a priggish, amateurish attempt to paint him as a misogynistic womanizer. What it did instead was make the writers seem like the products of a university gender studies program. They completely misunderstood the way most normal people understand male-female relationships and ignored the remarkable equality with which Trump treats (and pays) women.
Referring to that article, noted feminist Camille Paglia muses that “Trump seems like a raffish buccaneer, leaping about the rigging like the breezy Douglas Fairbanks or Errol Flynn, while Hillary is the stiff, sequestered admiral of a bullion-laden armada of Spanish galleons, a low-in-the-water easy mark as they creak and sway amid the rolling swells.”
3. Hillary represents the establishment in the year of change. She’s been in the center of American politics for almost 30 years, a human bridge between Wall Street, Washington, foreign governments and her family political foundation. She is the ultimate insider and has reaped vast riches for it.
Hillary Clinton is business as usual, crony capitalism incarnate, the political version of McDonald’s, Inc.: ubiquitous, predictable, barely palatable and uninspiring.
The rallies for Bernie Sanders and Trump are huge and enthusiastic. “Enthusiasm” is not a word that anyone but angry women of a certain age uses to describe their support for Clinton. Her support is so weak that Sanders can still threaten a contested convention on the eve of the California primary.
The Associated Press reports that Clinton has locked up the requisite number of delegates to win nomination on the first convention ballot. Because no one believes that her pledged superdelegates are enthusiastic supporters, Sanders can still carry on the fight without it being quixotic. His supporters might even demand it.
4. The zeitgeist is against the establishment. The Obama administration has presided over almost eight years of stagnant growth, mounting terrorism, skyrocketing debt, endless foreign military engagements, and massive trade deficits. And Clinton has embraced the Obama record and policy framework.
She’s embraced more than the framework; she’s embraced the style. Or perhaps Obama learned it from her: triangulation, obfuscation and paranoid secrecy. The framework lacks credibility and America is tired of the style. It treats us as subjects, not citizens, and it constantly condescends.
By comparison, Trump appears refreshingly open, honest and even more presidential.
5. Trump is in great shape and Hillary appears a wreck. Trump knocked out 16 primary opponents, ranging from interesting to attractive to formidable, with possibly the lowest relative expenditure of a primary candidate in modern history. He was the joke candidate that no one in the pundit class expected to survive past Labor Day.
Clinton entered her race as a Goliath. She terrified away the serious competition, immediately captured a chunk of the super delegates and was left to face a musician-governor, Vermin Supreme, and an old socialist who once wrote bondage porn.
The old socialist stuck it out and has forced her to struggle for a nomination she considered hers by right. In the process, he’s won the love of his fans (he’s one of the rare politicians to have fans) while Hillary has been grudgingly accepted. And as Sanders and Trump have flourished, Clinton seems to have physically withered.
Trump sounds and acts like a vital man who is having the time of his life; questions about Hillary’s health continue to surface as she coughs, wheezes and looks every day more like an extra from “The Walking Dead.”
And there are five months to go.
Trump and Clinton have higher negatives than any major party candidate in recent memory. Neither is a perfect candidate. But Trump has captured the imagination of his supporters while Clinton has stalled in his shadow. Clinton plods on like a Washington wonk, while Trump storms across the landscape like a force of nature.
Five months is an eternity in politics, but right now, the election is shaping up as Trump’s to lose. The voters want to shake Washington to its foundations. Trump can do it, and that’s why he’ll probably win.